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Merry menus for May


Last updated 5/10/2007 at Noon

It happens every year, so you think I’d get used to it now… I turn my head in late January and whoosh… it’s the merry month of May. Every club that meets has its final fling in May, there are May showers, Mother’s Day (the BIGGIE, of course), school celebrations, graduations… the list goes on and on.

And, of course, with almost every occasion there is an opportunity and sometimes an obligation for entertaining.

Many seasoned hostesses have learned a valuable menu-planning technique: everything on the menu is NOT NEW! They add a new beverage or appetizer; maybe THIS time the dessert is spectacular and the rest of the menu more subdued or the meal is served buffet rather than sit-down; change up the colors.

What most do is add to what has been a handy-dandy hit in the past.

So, these recipes are from my family – they who have used them from time to time for any number of get-togethers.

A case in point in this lovely spiced tea that could be the center-point of a committee’s farewell brunch or a bible study group’s last spring meeting. More than anything, making this special tea communicates “I care,” as I think it could be served with bakery-purchased goodies and everyone would remark about the lovely tea.

Heritage Spiced Tea

2 lemons

1 orange

2 ½ sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces

1 tbsp. whole cloves

12 cups water, divided

3 teabags

Squeeze lemons and orange, setting aside juice. Place rinds of fruit in top of double boiler, along with cinnamon, cloves, sugar and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and let stand 1 hour.

In meantime, boil 8 cups of water, remove from heat and add teabags. Let steep 3 minutes. Remove teabags. Stir citrus-sugar mixture into tea; add reserved juice. Serve hot in teacups, garnished with floating thin lemon slices.

Another choice might be a refreshing fruit juice cocktail to serve with a bevy of light appetizers for an afternoon gathering of your book club or sewing circle. Fresh mint from the garden adds both color and flavor.

Sparkling Berry Mint Sipper

1 (32-oz.) bottle cranberry-raspberry juice cocktail, chilled

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 (12-oz.) cans ginger ale, chilled

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)

Ice cubes

Fresh mint leaves

Mix raspberry juice, lemon juice and ginger ale. Put raspberries through a sieve to remove seeds, if desired. Add to ginger ale mixture. Add ice cubes and garnish with fresh mint.

The last Sunday school session seems to require a proper celebration. Make this for the little ones and their parents to enjoy as they take a summer break.

Gold Punch

½ cup sugar

1 cup hot water

1 pt. frozen strawberries, thawed

1 large can pineapple juice

1 medium-size can frozen orange juice, thawed

1 small can frozen lemonade, thawed

1 (l-liter) bottled ginger ale

Ice cubes or ice ring

Combine sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Mash thawed berries to a pulp.

Add mashed berries to sugar-water. Stir in pineapple juice, orange juice and lemonade. Allow to stand about 30 minutes to blend flavors. Slowly add ginger ale. Pour into serving pitcher or punch bowl. Add ice cubes to pitcher or add ice ring to punch bowl.

Easy and delicious appetizers are dear to the heart of any hostess. Most cooks would have everything except the Swiss cheese and green onion on hand. It’s ready in about 7 minutes… a perfect choice for a last-minute “summer’s here” farewell to your carpool partners.

“To Die For” Cheese Dip

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise

2 cups chopped green onion

8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese

12 Ritz crackers, crushed

¼ cup real bacon bits

Beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, chopped green onion and shredded cheese in a medium bowl. Spread in microwaveable serving dish or glass pie plate. Top with crushed crackers and bacon bits. Microwave until hot and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Serve with crackers or bagel chips.

Most men in my father’s family were very good eaters and did not cook unless it was something they brought to the kitchen from a hunting or fishing expedition. Danny is an exception. He cooks. This is one of his famous desserts.

Danny’s Magical Pumpkin Pie Cake

1 (29-oz.) can pumpkin

4 eggs

1 (13-oz.) can evaporated milk

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 ½ cups sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 pkg. yellow cake mix

1 cup melted butter or margarine

1 cup chopped nuts

Whipped cream or frozen whipped topping

Mix pumpkin, eggs and evaporated milk. Blend in nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Add sugar mixture to egg mixture, blending well.

Pour into an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle cake mix over top. Pour melted butter over cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

Cool, then top with whipped cream or whipped topping. Can be made the day before. Refrigerate.


By now you know my sister Carol is almost a nonstop cook and entertaining wiz. I know few who do more for more groups than Carol. Her corny muffins have starred in more than one of her parties… I’m sure her friends like knowing she truly is a born hostess. I like having her share her recipes!

Carol’s Corny Corn Bread (or Muffins)

1 Jiffy corn bread mix

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 stick melted butter or margarine

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped onion

2 tbsp. chopped pimiento

Mix ingredients in order given. Pour into lightly greased 9-inch square pan or foil-lined muffin tins (makes 18 muffins). Bake in a 350-degree oven about 35 minutes for pan of corn bread and about 20 minutes for muffins. When done, a cake tester inserted in the center will come out clean.


There may be one better than chocolate chip cookies… and that’s chocolate chip pie!

It makes an elegant and easy dessert for a small group. Top with whipped cream, if desired. A “deep-style” unbaked pie shell is a must here… otherwise, there will be too much filling. Or, use two 8-inch unbaked pie shells and know they will be a little scant.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

1 stick butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

¾ cup flour

12 oz. chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

¾ cup flaked coconut, optional

9-inch deep pie shell, unbaked

Whipped cream, optional garnish

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in the flour. Gradually stir in chips, nuts and coconut. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 35-45 minutes or until just about set. Remove to a rack to cool.


Our cousin Kay could spot simplicity a mile away. When there is a potluck meal on the horizon, remember: this make two large cobblers… in a jiffy!

Easiest Pot Luck Fruit Cobblers

4 cans (Number 2 size) fruit (sliced peaches, red pie cheers, apricots, sliced pie apples)

1 pkg. white cake mix

2 sticks butter or margarine

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Select two fruits and open two cans of each. Pour 2 cans of the same flavor into a 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour remaining 2 cans of the same flavor into another 9x13-inch baking pan.

Divide cake mix into two equal portions. Scatter ½ of the cake mix over each pan of fruit. Slice l stick butter and lay it over cake mix. Repeat with second stick of butter, slicing over second pan that has been sprinkled with cake mix.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until topping is golden brown and crunchy. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve with ice cream, if desired.

May is a special month for Tony Duarter, who has been named Employee of the Month for Major Market!

Tony has been with the company for 16 years, starting as a part-time employee while still in high school. He started bagging groceries and is now an assistant manager.

He is also a complete product of Fallbrook: he was born at Fallbrook Hospital and has lived here his whole life. Plus, all four of his children have been born at Fallbrook Hospital. Tony and his wife Lilia have Brianna, 8; David, 4; Sophia, 2; and Javier, 9 months.

“I love being around our employees and our customers,” said Tony. “It feels like one big family.” He says he’s been with Major Market so long that he is now hiring people he knew first when they were in diapers. He also says that former employees stop by to see him even though when they worked at Major Market he might have been like a “drill instructor” when they reported to him.

Congratulations, Tony; you represent the very best of Fallbrook and the very best of Major Market.


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